Thursday, July 25, 2024

Safe Driving on the Golf Course

Cameron Burechails

The key to scoring well lies in your ability to find the fairway from the tee. When fairways are missed, players often find themselves with difficult second shots from either the rough, trees, or hazards that line the fairway.

When you are playing a par four or even par five hole, direction is more important than distance. Keeping your ball in play will help you not only save strokes but have more chances at making birdies.

The following are common mistakes that I have seen from players that have difficulty hitting straight tee shots.

  1. Over-swinging – Players that try to hit the ball ‘off the planet’, usually spray the ball left and right because they are unable to get the club on the ball with a square club-face.

  2. Improper Ball Position – The woods must strike the ball just as the club passes the bottom of the swing arc and is starting to swing up. Players who position the ball in the middle of their stance with the driver will rarely get the ball in the air because they have delofted the club and will be striking the ball when the club head has not yet reached the bottom of its swing arc and is still swinging down.

  3. Incorrect Hand Position at Address – Irons should be set up with the shaft leaning forward towards the target at address, and your hand positioned slightly ahead of the club-face. Woods, on the other hand, should not. When a player sets up in this manner the loft on the club-face is reduced and the club-face is often slightly open at address. The shaft of your driver should be positioned so that it appears to be perpendicular to ground at address. You should be able to count the number of grooves on the club-face of your driver at address.

  4. Lunging at the Target – Players that move their upper body forward on their downswing usually put themselves in front of the ball through impact. The angle of your spinal column must be maintained through impact, so that you can keep most of your body, including your head, behind the ball as you strike it.

In order to safely hit more fairways, I suggest that you follow these simple rules:

  1. Understand your ‘normal’ ball flight. If you tend to slice the ball from time to time then start aiming down the left side of the fairway rather than the centre so that your ball eventually will come to rest on the fairway. If you draw the ball then aim to the right side of the fairway (for a right-handed golfer), so that your ball eventually finds either the centre or left side of the fairway.

  2. Always select a target in the distance and make sure that you set up and swing at it. I like to pick a cloud in the sky, but a tree will also work just fine.

  3. Position the ball forward in your stance, in line with your left ear (for a right-handed golfer), so that you can strike the ball on your upswing.

  4. Swing even, so that your back-swing speed matches your downswing speed. This will allow you to square up the club-face through impact and hit straighter drives. Stay behind the ball through impact. Turn both your hips and shoulders together on your downswing, so that the angle of your spine does not change before impact. Your head will then be behind the ball as your club impacts the ball.

  5. Finish your swing. Both your belt buckle and your grip end should point towards the target at the end of your swing. A complete weight transfer will then be achieved and you will find yourself up on the toe of your back foot.

Next Week: Getting Your Kids into Golf

Cameron Burechails (Teaching Professional), The Georgian Bay Golf Academy,, or

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